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Viral Meningitis Awareness Week

From 6 to 10 May we will be raising important awareness about viral meningitis

viral meningitis week

Viral Meningitis Awareness Week (6 – 10 May) is all about getting people to talk about this form of the disease, its symptoms and after-effects – and to shout about what we at Meningitis Now can do to support individuals and families who have been affected by it.

This year we’re highlighting:

V for vital support – how we at Meningitis Now help following viral meningitis

I for information you can trust – where you can find out more reliable facts about viral meningitis

R for recovery – what this can look like and how long it can take

A for after-effects – what to look for and what to do about it

L for life after meningitis – getting back to normal

Each day this week we’ll be looking at one of these five aspects of viral meningitis, including hearing from our supporters about their stories and what made a difference for them.

Support from President

This year we also have the backing of our new charity President, TV presenter and fashion model Lisa Snowdon.

Lisa has been an active supporter since falling ill with viral meningitis in 2010. Despite terrible headaches and other signs of the disease Lisa continued to present her Capital London breakfast radio show.

She only sought medical attention after switching on the Bond Street Christmas lights in December that year, where she nearly collapsed in pain.

Since then, Lisa has supported us to spread awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease, some of which she herself experienced without recognising them as relating to meningitis.

She said: “It’s vital that everybody understands how serious viral meningitis can be and that those who have suffered from it, and their families and friends who are also affected, are not afraid to speak out about it and seek the support they need. Raising awareness, by talking about the disease, will help dispel the myths and misconceptions that viral meningitis is not dangerous and always ‘mild’.”

Understanding after-effects

Viral meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and the spinal cord. Symptoms can include a severe headache, a dislike of bright lights, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting and confusion. The disease can affect anyone of any age.

Our recent report into meningitis aftercare and support found that 94% of people leaving hospital following viral meningitis weren’t given enough information. And 93% reported that after-effects have affected their everyday lives. After-effects can include exhaustion, headaches, memory loss, depression, anxiety and hearing difficulties.

People diagnosed with viral meningitis are likely to be told that they will feel better in a couple of weeks. But for some recovery can take much longer – and many people we support need to take periods off education or work, and struggle with the day-to-day tasks that most people take for granted.

“I was made to feel like I should recover in a week or two. It took me over a year to be anywhere near like myself. I wanted more information and support with recovery, and for healthcare providers to understand it more.”

As well as highlighting the impact viral meningitis can have, our campaign seeks to raise awareness of our range of free services for sufferers of viral meningitis – including funding complementary therapies, counselling and peer support.

If you have been affected by viral meningitis or would like more information, visit our support pages or contact our Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or email helpline@meningitisnow.org

Share your viral meningitis story and help spread awareness